Apr 8, 2014 12:07 AM by Rebecca Taylor

Pit bull euthanized after killing Chihuahua on leash

TUCSON - A pit bull broke loose from its backyard, attacking three dogs on leashes, killing one.

It happened Monday on Tucson's east side near Pantano and Irvington.

The pit bull was captured by animal control. Officials say it's not the first time this animal has shown aggression.

Hours after the attack the pit bull was euthanized. But the investigation into how it's current care takers acquired it is ongoing.

"They're all precious to me, just precious," says Mary Ann Mayer. Her dog was killed in Monday's attack.

"These dogs mean the world to me, I'm old and they're all I have," the 72-year-old says. She loves her pets, as much as her seven grown kids.

Mayer's routine morning walk turned into a nightmare. Her three tiny dogs, all leashed, were attacked by a pit bull. 11-year-old Bella, a long haired chihuahua suffered the worst.

"I couldn't get her out of his mouth, he was beating her on the ground," says Mayer. "She was all excited when she saw the leash this morning, she was dancing on her hind legs, I'm going for a walk, I'm going for a walk."

Officials say the dog has attacked before. In 2011, the dog lunged at a bicyclist with a dog. And last December, while taken in by a family, he attacked their small house dog.

"What happened really is a tragedy," says Samuel the pit bulls current caretaker. He says the dog has never acted out, before now.

"He's an athletic dog, managed to get over our 7 foot fence, bouncing off a wood platform, that's the only possible way he got out," says Samuel.

Debra Tenkate, the Field Supervisor Pima Animal Care says, "The people the dog was with, made different statements about the dog and how they acquired it."

The dog's microchip led Tenkate to its registered owner, who says his pet has been missing six weeks. Samuel says he recently got the dog from a friend, who got him from a rescue group.

While Samuel and another person have been cited for breaking animal bite and leash laws the investigation continues.

Under Arizona law keeping any animal six days or more makes you the responsible owner.

"I really hope there's something we can do, to help them out in any way," says Samuel referring to Bella's owner.

Samuel has since reached out to Mayer, offering to pay her vet bill.

"In my eyes I thought Bella was alive, but she wasn't," says Mayer.

So far in 2014, 25 dogs have been deemed dangerous or vicious by Pima Animal Care and the courts. Their owners are required to abide by stricter rules, and licensing fees.

Nationwide nearly five million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. One in five require medical attention.

The CDC compiled a list of the top 10 most dangerous breeds and it started with the most aggressive:
Pit bull
Siberian husky
Saint Bernard
German shepherd
Great Dane
Doberman pincher
Chow chow
Alaskan malamute


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